Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 182, Issue 1, pp 17–23 | Cite as

Poisonings and clinical toxicology: a template for Ireland

Review Article



Poisons information is accessed around the clock in the British Isles from six centres of which two are in Ireland at Dublin and Belfast accompanied by consultant toxicologist advisory service. The numbers of calls in Ireland are down to about 40 per day due to easy access to online data bases. Access to Toxbase, the clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service is available to National Health Service (NHS) health professionals and to Emergency Departments and Intensive Care units in the Republic of Ireland. There are 59 Toxbase users in the Republic of Ireland and 99 % of activity originates in Emergency Departments. All United States Poison Control Centres primarily use Poisindex which is a commercial database from Thomson Reuters.


Information on paracetamol, diazepam, analgesics and psycho-active compounds are the commonest queries. Data from telephone and computer accesses provide an indicator of future trends in both licit and illicit drug poisons which may direct laboratory analytical service developments. Data from National Drug-Related Deaths Index is the most accurate information on toxicological deaths in Ireland. Laboratory toxicology requirements to support emergency departments are listed.


Recommendations are made for a web-based open access Toxbase or equivalent; for a co-location of poisons information and laboratory clinical toxicology; for the establishment of a National Clinical Toxicology Institute for Ireland; for a list of accredited medical advisors in clinical toxicology; for multidisciplinary case conferences in complex toxicology cases for coroners; for the establishment of a national clinical toxicology referral out-patients service in Ireland.


Poisons information Drug deaths Clinical laboratory toxicology Reform 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beaumont HospitalDublin 9Ireland
  2. 2.School of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland, UK
  3. 3.Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, University of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland, UK

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